Named “Best Pianist/Keyboardist” by the Cleveland Free Times, Rob Kovacs has been widely hailed for his shape-shifting musical experimentalism, spanning history-making classical feats and audacious recreations of videogame soundtracks to crafting mesmerizing indie rock both as bandleader and now, at long last, solo artist. Kovacs has invested more than a decade in the creation of his debut solo album, Let Go (due out February 12th), a brave and bittersweet song cycle written in the years following an intensely impactful romantic relationship and then recorded over an even longer span.
Kovacs finally began recording at his home in Cleveland in 2014. Though his initial goal was to record a kind of career overview, showcasing what he believed to be his best work as a songwriter, he couldn’t help but see certain patterns emerge.
“I realized that there was a theme,” he says. “They’re all about the same relationship. I realized that I needed room to tell the story. To feel complete.
“Conveniently all these songs are in the same key centers, a lot of D flat and A flat. They’re chronological storywise and then each song flows into the next key – some of them somewhat even overlap. That kind of worked out pretty nicely.”
Kovacs recorded all his piano tracks and then spent the next few years on vocals and additional instrumentation before having it all mixed in Chicago by 2x GRAMMY® Award nominee Sean O’Keefe (Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights, Plain White T’s).
Let Go is rich in its cohesive scope, its craftsmanship and narrative range befitting its extended invention. With his warm vocals and elegant melodies, Kovacs invites listeners to accompany him through that first flush of attraction to heartbreak and loss and ultimately, greater understanding and acceptance.
Now, after almost a decade, Kovacs has finally concluded his epic relationship with Let Go, its protracted creation lasting far longer than the actual romance chronicled therein.
With its ambitious compositional palette and hauntingly potent songcraft, Let Go affirms Rob Kovacs as a fully focused and steadfast artist, evincing a rare commitment and creative persistence rarely seen in our ever more short attention span society.
Today Glide is premiering the album’s closing track, “Bitter Memory,” perhaps the most raw and explicit of the collection, expressing all the complexities of the relationship and the healing process that followed with straightforward honesty and a striking lack of sugarcoating. Featuring a cascading piano and harmonies to complement the reflective lyrics, the song is a classic pop ballad that showcases Kovacs’ talent as a songwriter and as an arranger. The struggle of longing for someone while also wanting to move on is emotionally conveyed through the music, which contrasts rich, layered piano alongside a biting guitar solo that seems to capture bursts of anger. Ultimately, this is a finely crafted tune from an artist who is on the rise.
Kovacs describes the inspiration behind the song:
“This song was inspired after getting an email from an ex love – someone I really didn’t want to hear from anymore. I had moved on. I just wanted space and had stated as such numerous times. But every so often she’d reach out and it’d bring me right me back. I felt weak and powerless and, in turn, angry.
The reality though, which I didn’t want to admit, was I still longed for her. Seeing and reading her messages felt good. I still hadn’t let go.”
Let Go is out 2/12. PRE-ORDER
Photo credit: J. Bartholomew Photography